Peach Lake community celebrates Fourth of July with long-held tradition


Photo credit: Lauren Rankel

The members of the Northern Westchester Country Club, or “Hotel Property” as it’s commonly known in North Salem’s Peach Lake community, gathered together Tuesday to host their annual Fourth of July parade. The event is a tradition dating back to the late 1950s that began as a neighborhood celebration where children would dress in costumes that were judged by William Pabst, one of the original owners of the Peach Lake community. Prizes would be given out for most creative, most colorful, most patriotic and other whimsical categories. 

Children dressed up in costume in the 1960's Photo credit: Annie Farrell

The festivities would then lead into a boat parade where local boats, elaborately decorated for the holiday, would circle around Peach Lake several times with other lake communities joining in on the fun. Over the years, the boat parade was discontinued, but the children’s costume parade continued to be held through the early 1990s.

Children continuing the costume tradition in the 1980s. Photo credit: Chris Lundy

This year, Bonnieview Street filled as dozens of neighbors wearing red, white and blue greeted each other with early morning smiles. Kids rode scooters and bikes decorated with streamers and flags that paid homage to the early boat parade days. Golf carts and convertibles played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” Two teenagers dressed in inflatable eagle costumes added to the spirit. “It's great to be a part of and continue this tradition,” said homeowner Courtney Bogren.

Photo credit: Lauren Rankel

The parade was led by Charlie Voelkl, vice president of the homeowners’ association, and his wife, Ellen, on their red quad bike. The community walked the half-mile neighborhood loop together while onlookers waved and cheered from their porches to celebrate each other and the day. The parade included participants that are among the fourth generation of Peach Lakers. Many residents have grown up and moved back into the neighborhood to raise their own children and grandchildren. “The thing that kids who have grown up in this neighborhood recall the most about living here is the July Fourth parade,” remarked Voelkl.

Photo credit: Lauren Rankel

After the loop was completed, members gathered at Pabst Point, a community area named after William Pabst, to celebrate with donuts, coffee and make-your-own sundaes. Neighbors enjoyed each other’s company while children played tetherball, splashed at the sandy beach area, and played on playground equipment.

Photo credit: Lauren Rankel

 Stories and memories of past parades were shared among residents who grew up in NWCC, new neighbors were greeted with welcoming smiles, and plans were made for boating and barbecues later in the day. Voelkl boasted that this year’s parade had one of the strongest turnouts the community had seen in a long time.

Members converge at the end of the parade for coffee, donuts and ice cream. Photo credit: Lauren Rankel
A stroller decorated for the parade in 2015. Photo credit: Charlie Voelkl
1960s children's costume parade. Photo credit: Annie Farrell
1980s children's parade participant Photo credit: Chris Lundy
Children's costume parade in the 1980's Photo credit: Chris Lundy
Photo credit: Chris Lundy
NWCC parade in 2010 Photo credit: Jim O'Brien
Lorraine and Norm Hathaway lead the 2010 parade in their vintage car. Photo credit: Jim O'Brien
All smiles for this year's parade
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